Sunday night, Ill Niño made a pit stop at the Starland Ballroom as part of their anniversary tour celebrating the 15-year mark of their debut album, Revolution Revolución. For the uninitiated, Ill Niño is a six-piece act that brings a distinctive Latin flair to heavy and nu-metal through a second percussionist and alternating English/Spanish lyrics. Revolution Revolución represents a much more aggressive sound when compared against work from the band’s contemporaries.
Formed in New Jersey, Sunday’s show marked a nostalgic homecoming for the tour, which was celebrated by a daylong marathon. Lasting from 3:00 pm until just shy of midnight, the tour showcased eight local and touring bands. The support certainly put on an entertaining show from bands practically oozing charisma like Ronin—who dropped an EP and recorded a music video that night—to those whose more shocking/deranged visuals caused the audience to pause before being won over. I’m looking at you, Throat. Other groups included Aurin, ANAKA, Me With Creeps, and Voodoo Terror Tribe.
The third to last act, Shattered Sun kindled the night’s mosh pit with their blend of Texan metal and salutes to the fine art of drinking beer. Marcos Leal’s vocals proved especially potent as he seamlessly transitioned from growls to cleans and whipped an impressive mane of hair in time with the furious drumbeat.
West Virginian hard rockers, Bobaflex, quickly followed suit. Characterized by high energy, alternating vocals, and duets, the group’s set felt like two shows in one. Shaun McCoy lit the stage on fire with his captivating presence and powerful screams at the beginning of the set, while his brother—Marty McCoy—took a more laidback approach during his tracks. There was a clear emphasis on audience participation as Marty McCoy borrowed concertgoers’ phones to record the performance and delivered numerous high-fives. The band’s cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s, “The Sound of Silence,” “Mama (Don’t Take My Drugs Away),” and “Bury Me With My Guns On” marked crowd-pleasers.
At long last, Ill Niño stormed the stage with Revolution Revolución’s first track, “God Save Us.” Already rowdy, the decent-sized crowd was incited into a frenzy by the band’s arrival—quickly breaking into a circle pit and tossing crowd-surfers the three or so feet to security (both acts continued throughout the night).
“God Save Us” was followed by a quick intro, as Cristian Machado (vocals) promised to stay light on the between-song banter and play Ill Niño’s debut from start to finish. The performance itself was as heavy hitting as one would expect from touring veterans laying down tracks that are clearly close to their hearts. In addition to Machado, Lazaro Pina’s (bass) groovy dances mid-song fed into the audience’s activity.
While one of the drums seemed amped up too much at the beginning of the performance, the issue was quickly resolved. The same cannot be said for Machado’s mic, which captured his screams and cleans well but made it difficult to piece out the songs’ softer-spoken moments. That being said, the sound did not seem a detriment to the audience’s experience, as the majority of attendees already knew the lyrics and could (and did) shout along word-for-word.
This passion shared by the men onstage and their followers on the floor made for a memorable night, especially during the tracks “What Comes Around” and “No Murder.” “I Am Loco” is also noteworthy as the venue shook from the crowd leaping up and down in the air. Before playing the album’s last song, “With You,” Ill Niño thanked the audience profusely for their career’s longevity, as well as personally acknowledged their family and friends in attendance.
After exiting the stage, Ill Niño came back for three separate encores: “Te Amo … I Hate You,” “This is War,” and “How Can I Live.” Attendees’ sheer excitement over these selections were enough to make one wonder whether the group should have played a set of tracks from their first three albums (although that could also be wishful thinking on this reviewer’s part).
Playing Revolution Revolución in its entirety, Ill Niño’s anniversary tour is definitely worth checking out for fans of the band, as well as those looking for a different take on heavy metal.
Want to know more about Ill Niño? Check them out on tour (upcoming dates below) or on their website.
5/24 — Syracuse, NY @ The Lost Horizon
5/25 — Kent, OH @ The Outpost
5/26 — Columbus, OH @ The Summit
5/27 — Stevens Point, WI @ Live On Main
5/31 — Omaha, NE @ Shamrock’s Pub & Grill
6/01 — Springfield, MO @ The Outland Ballroom
6/02 — Janesville, WI @ The Back Bar
6/03 — Crest Hill, IL @ Bada Brew
6/04 — Cudahy, WI @ The Metal Grill
6/05 — Minneapolis, MN @ The Cabooze
6/07 — Des Moines, IA @ Lefty’s
6/09 — St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
6/10 — Merriam, KA @ Aftershock
6/11 — Denver, CO @ Herman’s Hideaway
6/12 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
6/14 — Spokane, WA @ The Palomino
6/15 — Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
6/16 — Seattle, WA @ Studio 7
6/18 — Idaho Falls, ID @ SERIAM Fest
6/20 — Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
6/21 — Reno, NV @ Jub Jub’s
6/23 — Petaluma, CA @ The Phoenix Theater
6/24 — San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
6/25 — Santa Ana, CA @ Malone’s